What To Look For Before You Go
Bridal shows offer couples the chance to meet their region’s wedding professionals face to face to determine if they are the right fit for their big day. Some people might think bridal shows are antiquated or a “cattle call” trade show but not us. Maybe we’re spoiled here in Northeast Ohio! Between Cleveland and Akron, we have had the opportunity to participate in many bridal shows. We find the consensus on both sides of the booth is that they’re extremely helpful for everyone.
We hear more and more that couples are making their decisions exclusively by what they see online about a company. With sites like Wedding Wire and The Knot to social media, there’s a lot more information to take in before you make a decision about your wedding vendors. The problem is, there’s more to it than just photos of their work. Most of your wedding vendors will be there at some point during your wedding as well as the time you’ll be spending with them leading up to your day. Time and time again, we’ve seen wedding pros who have excellent work but just don’t click with their couples due to contradicting personalities. This is just one of the reasons why meeting face to face is important.
Seeing them at bridal shows gives you a chance to see how neat they are when it comes to potential for details. Their booth represents them and therefor should be clean, express their aesthetic, and should a appeal to your sensibilities. For example, if you are looking at a rental company for their linens or decor, you would hope to see that everything looks new, shows off their design sense and is attractive to you. This is them on their best day trying to attract business. If they don’t look good today, they won’t for your wedding. Also, it’s not just if they are universally “good” this is about finding someone who compliments your vision. If they are a company that focuses on rustic looks, they might not be a match for you if you are looking for something more contemporary.
In a world of Google, marketing design apps, and easy to use website builders, anyone can look like an expert online. If you ask a question of a potential supplier via e-mail, it’s the easiest thing for someone new to weddings to cut and paste the right answer. It’s different when you are face to face, however. If you ask an exhibitor if they’ve been to your venue, what they specialize in, or why they love weddings – you’re in a better position to get honest answers vs. what they think you want to hear. It’s always a good idea to meet someone before you work with them.
Look for these warning signs of disreputable wedding vendors:
- Anyone who says you’re getting something for free.
- Booths that look like they were put together last minute.
- Vendors that don’t have professionally printed brochures or cards.
- No photos of events they have worked on.
- Have a Plan
If the bridal show you are attending has a list of exhibitors, it will pay off to do some research. Before you go, make sure you know who you want to visit, and what questions you want to ask them. Make a list of pros and cons as you see them for each vendor type. You may find that there is a supplier who seems like they are your perfect fit. If the job is basically there’s to loose, meet them to see if their marketing matches them in person and move a little faster through the process. Ask if they have a show special. That said, we’re not advocates of making decisions the day of the show unless you are all but ready any way. If someone is rushing you through the process with deep discounts, that should be something to be concerned about. Event professionals who are good at what they do believe their pricing offers a lot of value and won’t slash prices in
Tips and Tricks for attending Bridal Shows
For those of us who have been exhibiting for years, the following tips will seem old hat. We include them any way because most of our clients haven’t planned a wedding before! While these ideas have been written about before, we want to make sure they’re included for those going for the first time.
- Create a special email address just for your wedding (you’ll be getting A LOT of emails from vendors you meet).
- Pre-print out labels to give to exhibitors that includes your contact information.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Exhibit floors don’t offer much support!
- Get there early and stay a while. No matter what, you’ll be saving more time attending a show than you would if you attended one-on-one appointments. Get the full value of the show.
- Take pictures. Bridal shows are full of inspiration you’ll want to capture.
- Take notes with pictures. You’ll meet and talk to more people about the same thing than you can imagine! Don’t get exhibitors mixed up. Take a picture with your phone and add notes that include your favorite and least favorite things about them.
- Make it fun! The planning process of a wedding is longer than your wedding day – make sure it’s also a good time.
In summary, these are some reasons why you should meet potential wedding companies at a bridal show:
- Determine if your personalities match.
- Attention to details.
- Do they know their stuff?
- Plan ahead.
- Use proven wedding tricks.